Merkato, a bald, well-trained top athlete?

VandeGrijp leverages Merkato to streamline operations, opting for precision in calculations and embracing collaborative integration.

Despite seeking a more decorated user interface, Merkato significantly boosts productivity and quality, marking a transformative journey for the company.

The interview with Rob Stikkelorum is available below for your reference. We transcribed the interview from Dutch.

Client: VandeGrijp Integrations: Isah Business Software, Outlook

Optimizing Logistics and Processes

VandeGrijp focuses on the construction of pipes and tube structures and the rental of pipe systems and floating material for the infrastructure market. VandeGrijp’s head office is located in Papendrecht, where we visited Rob Stikkelorum, former director of VandeGrijp. Rob Stikkelorum ensured, among other things, that the logistics setup was optimized through the purchase and implementation of Merkato and ISAH. Martijn de Jong, production planner at VandeGrijp, handled the entire implementation of the configurator.

Transition and Training Process

Rob Stikkelorum has not been the director of VandeGrijp since January 1, but still walks around every week to complete the logistics setup. Why did they involve Merkato in their company?

'If you choose one of our products, you immediately receive the correct times and price.'

“Many companies work with standard products or components, but we work using a cost-price method,” says Rob Stikkelorum. “Our products are 100% customer-specific, and therefore we cannot configure components that other companies can. We build the customer-specific product entirely according to the customer’s wishes. This process is broken down into standard steps and operations in Merkato. Processing times depend on this. The seller always “configures” a completely new product, but they immediately receive the times and a price is also immediately provided.

So we actually purchased Merkato for a different reason than most other Quootz customers. For us, it was mainly about calculating. Before we started using Merkato, we had a variety of Excel sheets spread across the company for this purpose. There definitely needed to be more structure.”

“At VandeGrijp, we now also work with a new ERP system. All ERP packages function to manage the logistics functions within a company and can do many things, but they are not specialists when it comes to configuration, calculation, and efficiently sending out quotations. Merkato is. Merkato is much more to the point. Merkato ensures quality and time savings.”

Factors Influencing the Decision

“We purchased Merkato in September 2013, and we immediately started training and implementation. The construction took three or four months with an effective expenditure of one day a week. This ran parallel to the implementation of the new ERP package, which we also purchased in the same period. The first phase of the implementation ended in January. Then came the testing phase, and we have been using it since the end of April. So it actually happened quickly and is still fairly fresh. We were able to test Merkato completely separately. It was exciting for us because we mainly calculated the cost price within Merkato. We have been working with Merkato within VandeGrijp since the end of April. It is now mainly the “getting used to phase” within the organization, for the company and with the customers. ”

‘That’s exactly how it should go. That’s the way it should be’

The decisive factor in purchasing was that I found Merkato so simple. You do not need to have substantive knowledge.

“Martijn, who took care of the implementation, received a morning of training from Bas. Together they already built part of the model. Prior to the process, we made a design of the model that we ultimately wanted to configure. We had already written down all the ins and outs for ourselves, so Martijn could get started after a few hours. We designed the calculation model ourselves because that is our thing, our product, our process. Martijn had regular contact with Quootz via Skype or email if he had a technical problem or could not solve something. As far as I’m concerned, that’s exactly how it should go. That’s the way it should be.”

“If you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you may sometimes have to choose a slightly different approach along the way, but that has proven to be possible time and time again. What is very nice is that you can consult well with both Christiaan and Bas. Of course, they don’t fully know the ultimate goal, but they do understand where you want to go, and they help you achieve that goal, so if there’s a detour somewhere that they hadn’t fully anticipated, you won’t hear a sigh. They are willing to help you with it. The collaboration is and was very positive.”

‘As a relatively ‘young company on the market,’ Quootz is open to customer wishes, and this is very positive’

Suggestions for Improvement

“There are certainly areas for improvement in Merkato,” Rob continues.

“Merkato is very to the point. The user interface is quite bare, so in my opinion, they could do with a little more tinkering with it. It is all very businesslike, functional and to the point, there are no unnecessary frills, but there could be a little more decoration and appearance.”

“You get a lot of functionality for the price you pay, but the appearance also brings emotion. And that’s a bit lacking now. Merkato can be compared to a ‘bald, trained top athlete’, but it is not always used that way. I must note that there are certainly opportunities in the system to “spice things up” but that we have not yet invested any energy in this.”

Feedback and Future Directions

“Merkato has saved us a lot of time. We now have 80% of our product range in Merkato and are already freeing up many man hours. Time that can be spent on other things. The quality of the calculations has also increased enormously. Deviations are immediately adjusted in the system, allowing us to continuously improve. So we do much more in much less time, and also do better work. This makes the leverage of the investment simply ridiculously high.

'So we do a lot more in much less time, and also do better work'

Merkato is a very important link in the process that is further handled by ISAH. Quootz, together with ISAH, has set up very nice connections for this in a relatively short time.

It was a new and exciting system, I had been looking for something like it for fifteen years. It was exciting to adopt a calculation schedule, as this was not our previous working method. Previously, calculations were handled by buyers, sellers, and a main salesperson who determined the price. Now, we operate based on rational principles, shaping our future processes accordingly.

“Merkato is highly recommended and offers versatile integration options for any company, just as it has for us.”


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